September 2nd, 2009
04:41 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama to address joint session of Congress next week

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will address the contentious issue of health-care reform in a speech before a joint session of Congress on September 9, multiple Democratic sources told CNN Wednesday.

"The president is considering ... laying out a more specific vision" of health-care reform, said one administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

So far, Obama has outlined broad principles for what he would like in health-care reform, but he has left most details to leaders in Congress. Now, White House aides say, the dynamic has changed.

"We're entering a new season," senior adviser David Axelrod said. "It's time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done."

The new phase is being "driven in part by the actions of some in the GOP, including Senators Grassley and Enzi," the administration official noted.

The official added that the White House believes those actions indicate the two key Republicans - Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, who have been part of a bipartisan group negotiating a health-care bill - "are essentially walking away from the table."

The official said that "now is the time to begin to pull together the various strands and solutions from the four bills that have been marked up and other proposals. ... Basically all the cards are on the table."

As momentum for health-care reform has slowed, Obama has come under growing pressure from liberal activists and leading congressional Democrats to provide more specifics.

"I think the president needs to step forward," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Tuesday. "Be more specific, more aggressively fight for a strong health-reform bill with a strong public option. I think he's going to do that."

Obama will host House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the White House next Tuesday afternoon to discuss the speech, two officials added.

The president called Reid on Wednesday morning to inform him about the speech, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

–CNN's Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Ed Henry, Gloria Borger, Brianna Keilar, and Elaine Quijano contributed to this report

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    President Obama,

    Be strong and courageous, AND GO TO WORK!

    After all of the Reckless Right's sleazy twisting of the truth and lying in an effort to scare people out of wanting necessary reforms that will make the health care system better and the economy stronger, MOST AMERICANS STILL WANT REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM!

    This has got to be bad news for the likes of Grassley and Enzi and all their Republican cohorts.

    Please listen to Pelosi about the public option. Anything less won't get costs under control.

    September 2, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. calvin

    well the three blind mice will meet on health care. lest hope msnbc and you can come up with a bush chaney moment to of set how bad these great leaders will fare. and if you can get bush go after palin that may help now all you democrat get to cry about 911 was set by bush

    September 2, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Lila

    Anyone want to place bets on how many Tea Partiers will watch/listen to this???

    September 2, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. PatC

    Can this be mandatory? What is going on? It isn't like our Nation was attacked. Just because he is losing the fight for health care doesn't mean he needs to call a special session of congress.

    September 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Edward

    Great we have Larry Curly and Moe Trying to figure out how their going to feed their little mushrooms. Yep you keep us in the dark and feed us your crap. We will sit here and applause on how you force the public into what YOU think is right. Get a grip. Oh I know if I talk to the Dems and tailor my speech to what they want then everything will be OK and everyone will forget. Remember Mr. President we are not all mushrooms and do not need to be told what to do.

    September 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |

    Ditch Health Care and GET ON TO THE "WAR" Our Soldier Citizens are DYING and he just keeps on spending money and disregarding these IMPORTANT CITIZENS ! He's trying to PUSH this reform down the throats of citizens for his own agenda. – AND that is : his personal financial and political gains in the next four years and beyond. ALL politicians look out for themselves FIRST. This guy is NO DIFFERENT. Don't be fooled by a "wolf" in "sheeps clothing". It's happened before and will happen again. WAKE UP TAX PAYING AMERICAN CITIZENS !

    September 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Matt

    Obama caved to GOP pressure.
    I'm glad I didn't vote for him.

    September 2, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    Whats he gonna say I won again? One term and Jimmy Carter II is out of Office.

    September 2, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. DH Mid MI

    If he wants a bi-partisan solution to Health Care, Reid and Pelosi are the last ones to seek advice from. Congress has made an incredible mess of this issue and would be better off starting over.

    September 2, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Susan

    In response to the loonies commenting on the President's asking America's students to take responsibility for the education and do something to help the nation, I have a few words for them: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." So I guess JFK was an evil socialist as well? Sometimes I get the impression Republicans would be happy on their own little island, growing their own food, slitting each other's wrists, and each taking care of himself alone. But wait, then they wouldn't be rich off the backs of another's labor. They would be living as Christ did, and we all know how well they follow his teachings.

    September 2, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Caesar the Great

    This will either be genius or will completely back-fire. He is walking a very fine line and Im not sure he is even sure which way it will fall. Im giving him credit for taking a chance, but if he comes out and just trys to appease his far left (ie Ried and Pelosi) he is setting himself up to fail as most Americans fall somewhere closer to the middle than these two.

    September 2, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Mike P

    It's amazing how many people still cannot accept a african american in office. Not just this article, but I've seen and read the most ludicrous comments on other related stories on CNN. Honestly? Republicans need to read the deifinition of Socialist. Where was this outrage against socialism when George Bush tried to privatize social security a few years back? The Florida GOP chair is an idiot who has shown his true colors. Socialism? What about Bush's prescription drug benefit for Medicare? Bush exploded the deficit with no restraint on spending despite 6 years of a Republican Congress

    September 2, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Beth

    I welcome it with both arms!

    September 2, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Mike TX

    Sorry Mr. President, I'd rather have Dick Cheney waterboard me than listen to your pathetic excuse for health care reform!

    September 2, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Jon

    Taking it to the people and calling Congress out on National television. A bold move that I hope pays off

    September 2, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Now we will get something done. It will be a plan that will include a government option. Obama let ALL the ugliness come out the last 4 weeks so that most are comfortable that the NEGATIVE , NASTY junk was all hot air from the minority...NOT the majority. We will now get the Reform and Government Plans that this Country Needs and deserves. COST you say ???? How can you put a cost on something that is certainly MORE important than 8 years in Iraq that has done NOTHING for the American People. At least we ALL will have something that we will benefit will be tangible and not what IRAQ was. If my chlidren , Grand Children , etc are going to pay for something I want them to SEE what they are being tapped with...not a made up War for the Oil Millionaires.

    September 2, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Jay T.

    Judy still does not get the point. The Health Care system needs to be reformed. A vast majority of Americans think so and, unfortunately, a large number of Americans know so based on the insane amount of money they give to HMO's. So, Judy, go back to waving your American flags as we spend bilions of dollars to make the city of Bagdad a heap of rubble based on your Republican bretherns heap of lies. The Right has no credibility with anyone with a better memory than a cockroach.

    September 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. TCM

    "....more car salesman spew...." This guy is absolutely the worst president this country has ever had. His lack of leadership combined with his total incompetence doesn't even qualify him to be a shift lead at a burger joint....what a disgrace this is for this once mighty nation, to have such an inferior person in the white house.

    September 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Wake Up

    Von Bismark- Rich people pay 39% of their income...poor pay zero. How is that a benefit to the rich? Middle class pay 10-25%. Us Middle are sick of you lazy and unwilling. GET A JOB!
    No more marxist policies.

    September 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Captain Teleprompter to the rescue. When will he learn that leadership isn't measured by how many minutes of the evening news you occupy?

    September 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. ETM

    The President will now speak coherently about health care reform after a month of hysterical right-wing ranting about "death panels" and other such stupidity.

    We will have a major reform bill passed in the next 2, maybe 3, months. Get over it, Republicans. You lost and you remain losers.

    September 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Independent

    I don't understand when people cry out "I want my country back!". Back from who or what?!! Whatever. Universal healthcare for all. Finally a President confronting the problem

    I have health insurance from my husbands work, doesn't mean I'm satisfied with it. I would love to be able to get the same care as our elected leaders.

    September 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. All the news thats fit to omit

    Is there a reason this was NOT part of the STORY????

    Obama is considering detailing his health-care demands in a major speech as soon as next week, when Congress returns from the August recess. And although House leaders have said their members will demand the inclusion of a public insurance option, Obama HAS NO PLANS TO INSIST ON IT HIMSELF, the officials said.

    On health care, Obama’s willingness TO FORGO THE PUBLIC OPTION is sure to anger his party’s liberal base. But some administration officials welcome a showdown with liberal lawmakers if they argue they would rather have no health care law than an incremental one.

    The confrontation would allow Obama to show he is willing to stare down his own party to get things done.


    Smoke, lies, mirrors and more lies and by the way ABORTION IS AND WILL BE FUNDED, they are just manipulating the way it WILL BE FUNDED

    September 2, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Brian

    As I said before, I think he needs a founding health care set principles that people can trust will not allow any future changes or interpretations that will go against the initial intent. Similar to the consitution itself. That way people don't need to read the entire bill to and interpret it correctly to feel confident. They can just feel confident the founding principles will protect them from anything in the bill that goes against the basic principles.

    September 2, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Jacqueline

    The problem is how can you believe anything he says when he said one thing years ago (ex: single payer option) before his Presidency, and now he's saying something else. And I don't believe he just "changed his mind". Unfortunately, the Democrat Leadership is saying one thing and will do another...just to get support for this horrible bill. We all want healthcare reform, but not the Dems way.

    September 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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